Church Websites and Star Wars?

Star Wars Episode I movie poster

Yes I am writing about Star Wars on my church website blog… trust me, it is relevant! Star Wars is arguably one of the most successful science fiction movie franchises in history. However, the announcement of re-releasing the films in 3D was met with far less excitement. Fans of the originals do not like “their movies” tampered with. How does this tie to your church’s website? Just because a new technology becomes available, does not mean you need to force it into your existing website.

Focus On The Basics

I am sure we all know that adding 3D effects does not make a story better. The cast of characters, their struggles, and the resolution is what sticks with us. Remember this when a new technology surfaces and people want to rush past the story. This does not mean new technologies are bad, just less important than a good story. For instance, on a testimonial page, create full-spectrum coverage with audio, video, images, and text transcripts. Presenting the story in these formats make it more personal, and also provides ways for users with disabilities to access the content more easily. In this illustration, technology has been properly applied to a problem, not simply layered on to keep up with the latest trends.

Avoid Extras

Additionally, many people do not like having to wear 3D glasses when watching movies. What are you asking your website users to add? Do they need Adobe Flash to use your site? Does your navigation break you have JavaScript turned off? Bottom line, do not build your web strategy around a new technology. Create a business goal centered on scripture, then create site elements to support it. Build upon the rock instead of the latest trend.

Use It Sparingly

Finally, George Lucas actually admitted that he was not much of a fan of 3D movies. It was an arduous process, but after previewing some of the movie in 3D, he agreed that if applied correctly it could look great. This reminds me of the rush into the mobile space. Several churches have asked me about creating an iPhone app for their church. After I explain the cost in creating that, and the benefits of creating a website that can handle mobile devices; they see it is not the route to go initially. Depending on the success of a mobile web experience, a native mobile application may be the next step. So although you need to have a strategy for mobile devices, you do not always need the newest shiny (expensive) item.

Action Item

Rely on the basics, use the art of storytelling, and demonstrate how Jesus is working through your church. Resist the temptation to rush into adding new technology. However, if it fits well into supporting an existing business goal, then by all means pray for guidance and timing. Remember that God answers all prayers like any parent with “yes”, “no”, and “later”.

Special Note: I will be seeing the Star Wars 3D movies. However, it is not to see the updated graphics, but to give my children to experience seeing the movies on the big screen.

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.